CORKAGE: On Festival Tasting Glasses And Tasting Notes From 10 Year Old Napa Cabs

December 5, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | I might be getting old, but festival-style wine tastings just don’t do it for me anymore. Elbowing people out of the way for a chance at the spit bucket exhausts me, and I really hate the wine glasses that convention centers use. Of course, I go because there isn’t much opportunity otherwise to taste so much in such a short period of time.

Once year in, however, something really special rolls into town. Known as the Napa Valley Vintner’s Tour, it’s a small tasting that is all about quality, not quantity. The tour recently breezed through Vancouver, and even the bad glasses couldn’t hide how extraordinary these wines were.

Before the madness of the general tasting comes what is fast becoming my favourite way to discuss wine: the civilized, congenial seminar hosted by vintners. This year’s seminar was a retrospective on the 2001 vintage in Napa. 2001 was considered a banner year for Cabernet Sauvignon, with a warm start to the season resulting in great fruit set. The producers involved in this back vintage tasting were Signorello Estates, Clos du Val, Shafer, Heitz, Salvestrin and Cain Vineyards. Each wine was in a different stage of development. Some had a few years left in them, while others (perhaps like me) were starting to wear a little thin.

Ray Signorello offered his 2001 Cabernet first. The wine is aging gracefully, with a blood cherry colour. On the nose and palate, plums, dried red fruits and tobacco leaf, alongside a cedar-y, woodsy note. Up next was the Reserve from Clos du Val. Much more herbaceous than the Signorello, there were green, leafy notes underscored by dried fruits. I would consider this a ‘drink now’. Moving to the other end of the spectrum, the Shafer Hillside Select Stag’s Leap still carried lots of primary fruit flavours like cherry and plums. The oak was more prominent with vanilla and milk chocolate undertones.

My favourite of the line up was the Heitz Martha’s Vineyard. Good, fine tannins provided a structural backbone to the unusual nose and taste of eucalyptus and mint, mingled with blueberry and tobacco. This, according to the producer, is the consistent flavour profile of Martha’s Vineyard. The Salvestrin leaned towards a wine that was ready to drink; red brick in colour and leafy and tobacco-like on the palate. Finally, the Cain showed a distinct coffee/espresso note, alongside roasted meats. Given that the wines were ten years old, they were still showing impressively well.

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

CORKAGE: On Violent Pump Overs & Raiding The Cellar At Laughing Stock Vineyards…

November 21, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | At the start of the month I headed up to Naramata, just outside of Penticton, for a weekend visit to Laughing Stock winery. The owners, David and Cynthia Enns, greeted my husband Scott and I with wine in hand and the threat of work in the vineyards. A tour by David was perfectly timed, as a violent pump-over was taking place on the newly harvested Malbec. We leaned cautiously over the railing to look into the open-top fermenters (a face full of carbon dioxide rising is not a good idea). The Malbec hadn’t yet reached its capacity. The fermenting grape juice was being sloshed over its cap (the stalks and skins that sit on top due to rising gas) through a large tube. It bubbled and foamed, exhibiting amazing purple colour.

The frequency of a pump over is dependent on the wine-maker… Read more

CORKAGE: On Proximity To Petrus And The Case Of The Midnight German Grape Heist

September 30, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

TASTED: In Aussie class last week I sampled some of my favourite wine: aged Semillon. In its infancy, Semillon (usually coming from the Hunter Valley, but very good examples are found in the Barossa as well) is light bodied and fairly one dimensional. It exhibits lots of acidity and lemon but is something of a sleeping giant. Given a good rest, it blossoms into more than one could ever expect. Two standouts included the Tyrrell’s Vat 1 2003 and 1999 (private wine stores, around $70). The wines were balanced showing great acidity in their mature age. They tasted of caramel, butterscotch, almonds, creamy cheese and coconut. They also had a slight briny quality that I found very intriguing. Another standout, though not tasted in class, was the 2003 Rockford Semillon from the Barossa. This wine is a steal at around $40, and I spend many minutes extolling its virtues on unsuspecting customers in the store. Pair with Dungeness crab and clarified butter.

OVERHEARD: I was treated to a delicious line up of Burgundy last week from Maison Louis Jadot. Both the whites and reds were stunning (smoky and flinty for the whites, earthy and spicy for the reds) but it was the great sense of humour from the export director that stole the show. My favourite comment from his visit: “In Burgundy you are always close to somewhere famous. In fact, we are only 100 miles away from Petrus”.

READ: Beppi Crosariol debates the positives and negatives of screwcaps and corks in his latest
column for the Globe & Mail…James Halliday talks Australian market share in a recent interview…the November issue of Decanter Magazine delves into Australia’s diverse wine styles, calling it the most “under appreciated wine producing country”…China and Hong Kong now account for 60% of total export sales of Bordeaux…Sid Cross dissects the newly released 2008 Bordeaux wines available in the BC market…Mark Hicken reports that next week a Bill will be introduced that will potentially allow wine to be shipped across borders…5,500 pounds of grapes disappear under the cover of darkness in a German vineyard…and lastly, the date for the very popular Napa Valley Vintner’s tour have been announced (November 1st). Stay tuned for more details!

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

CORKAGE: On Ideal Saturday Nights & The Crazy Idea Of Carrying Wine Across Borders

September 19, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

Tasted: The fall season means winemakers in town and portfolio tastings, which require an iron liver. A recent standout includes a Pineau des Charentes from Chateau d’Orignac (private wine stores, around $45.00). This unique dessert wine is created from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon must and 5 YO Cognac. The texture on the tongue is reminiscent of cream and the finish lingers for minutes. There are cascading flavours of raisins, butterscotch, honey, dried fruits (like apricot) and lots of nuts, predominately almonds. The ideal rainy Saturday night in Vancouver: a bottle of this and a block of Blue.

Overheard: Michel Dinn from JoieFarm popped by the store recently with 2009 vintages of the Chardonnay and PTG to taste. Conversation included the relatively hot 09 vintage, which challenged winemakers in the Okanagan. The issue was not necessarily the hot days, but the lack of cool nights. Without this swing in temperature, developing grapes can run the risk of not retaining their acidity. While acidity levels are technically lower in JoieFarm’s 2009 wines compared to previous vintages, they still maintain their trademark elegance and balance. The PTG (short for Passe-Tout-Grains, an appellation in Burgundy where the blending of Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir is common) had a little more Pinot Noir than usual this year. Michael feels his confidence increasing every year when working with Pinot Noir. As he explained, “the training wheels are slowly coming off”. I look forward to more great new cuvees in the years ahead.

Read: BC Business provides a roadmap on being an importer and doing business with the Liquor Board in their September issue…The LCBO softens rules on residents of Ontario who are interested in carrying wine across provincial borders…In a related conversation Solicitor General Shirley Bond recently stated that she was aware of Ontario’s changes and would subsequently be taking a look at what British Columbia could do to ease the strain on wineries shipping across borders…BBC news is reporting that while Australian imports are declining in the USA and UK, export to the Asian market is increasing quite steadily…Wine writer Natalie McLean shares some of her favourite wine moments in movies in a fun blog post…It’s not wine, but I’ve been known to enjoy a cocktail or two: NPR provides an insightful interview with Christine Sismondo about her new book America Walks Into a Bar.

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

GOODS: Legacy Liquor Store To Host $20 Evening Of Riesling Tasting & Food Pairing

September 13, 2011 

MW-Plaza-MAY31-10

Legacy Liquor Store is located at 1633 Manitoba Street in Vancouver, BC | 604-331-7900 | legacyliquorstore.com

The GOODS from Legacy Liquor Store

Vancouver, BC | Legacy Liquor Store is hosting a truly Riesling-focused tasting and pairing event this Saturday, September 17th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Join Owner Nik Weis as he walks you through his different Rieslings paired with tasty treats. Sippers will be amazed at the differences (expect the 2010 Urban Riesling, the 2009 Ockfener Bockstein Kabinett Riesling, 2007 Piesporter Goldtropfchen Spatlese Riesling). There are only 25 tickets available at $20 per. These are available for purchase here. Read more

CORKAGE: Top Table’s “Director’s Series” And The Thrill Of Returning To Wine School

September 6, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

TASTED: Not available in stores but so fun to try recently was the ‘Director’s Series’ Viognier made at Laughing Stock. This wine was/is the result of a collaboration between the Naramata Bench producer and the Wine Director’s of the Top Table  restaurant group. Owen Knolton of West was kind enough to share the fruit of his labour with me. Very rich on the palate. He nailed the pretty apricot and floral notes perfectly. In exchange, I opened up a personal favourite Viognier of my own from Le Vieux Pin. Luxurious and mouth-coating, this wine is all about texture. Ripe stonefruit flavours give way to a long finish. (private wine stores, $44)

OVERHEARD: It’s back to school, even for the wine kids of Vancouver. The charming Mark Davidson (my very first wine educator) is hosting a fantastic program sponsored by Wines of Australia that began last week. My student peers include Jake Skakun, Iain Phillips (another former instructor of mine), and DJ Kearney, just to name a few. The six week immersion program will take us through all the different grape growing regions of Australia. This week’s homework: Clare and Eden Valley Rieslings, and cool climate Pinot Noirs. The Rieslings are frisky to say the least. Absolute bracing acidity with tantalizing flavours of lime pith, minerality and – dare I say it – petrol. I will go on record to say that I love this character in Riesling. I know not everyone is a fan but I can’t help myself. The Pinot Noirs were just as good. Tasting each was like walking through a tomato patch mingled with tobacco leaves and wet earth. Throw in a well seasoned steak and I felt I had the very essence of Australian Pinot Noir. I love school!

READ: During a conference on Monday, three major Canadian wine producers admitted they needed to provide “value priced wines” in order to continue competing with the international market…A final report has been released about a study I commented on in early August, and it looks like Wine Access has decided to hit the alarm bells on the lack of cooperation in the BC Wine Industry…Anthony Gismondi provides his opinion today on the recent attack of the BC Wine Industry…And yet here we are again playing hide the local wine as Wine Access releases their 2011 Killer Value Wines list…Mark Hicken provides his take on what it means…Wines of Argentina is coming to Vancouver at the end of September and tickets went on sale this week…Harvest has begun in Champagne, the earliest on record since 1822…UK Supermarket Waitrose places a bet on Indian wine and starts stocking their shelves with a Viognier and Syrah from Western India…And last, it’s the season for wine tastings! Mark your calendars: the annual favourite Chef Meets Grape takes place on September 22nd at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

CORKAGE: Stomping On Shoots And Finding Quiet Among The Vines In The Napa Valley

August 23, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | “California Sprawl” is how Anthony Truchard, son of one of the largest grape growers in Napa, describes his family’s bush style Zinfandel vines, and I can’t think of a better name for either the mop top vines or my recent four day jaunt around Napa.  After arriving, a tour through the vineyards of Trefethen comes first with Jon Ruel, Director of Viticulture, guiding us around the property.

Trefethen is one of the first gravity-fed wineries to ever be built. It was designed by the same architect responsible for the Greystone (now home to the Culinary Institute of America) and Inglenook. The Trefethen family has never purchased grapes, remaining one of the true family-owned estate fruit wineries. As we wander around, Jon notices a small shoot coming off the main trunk of the vine.  He promptly takes his boot to it, breaking it off with a couple of quick stomps. Of course, the little green growth may seem innocuous, but it means fewer nutrients are being directed towards the grapes. It’s small, but the attention to detail isn’t missed and it’s certainly noticed in the style of wine. Intense and clean with bright minerality and pure fruit flavours, the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are true standouts.

After Trefethen, we’re off for lunch with Truchard and his parents, Tony and Jo Ann, who bought 20 acres of land in Carneros back in 1974 and now own about 400 acres. They sell fruit to about 20 premiere Napa wineries, making them pioneers in Napa Valley. With a glass of their whimsical single vineyard Rousanne in hand, Anthony brings us round the vineyards, through and among rows of old vine Zinfandel and Merlot. A quick stop to visit the pet goats and miniature donkey and then it’s back to the grind of tasting and touring. Their Cabernet is great value here in BC; Carneros appellated at a pretty good price ($27.99).

The next day, after a fun lunch at the fantastic roadside diner Gott’s (formerly “Taylor’s Refresher”), Mac Watson, owner of the brand Macauley vineyards, takes us to the holy grail of vineyard sites: To Kalon. Owned by Andy Beckstoffer, it’s a star in Napa Valley, providing fruit for cult wineries such as Herzog, Harlan and Plumpjack (to name only a few).

Mac sources his Cabernet Sauvignon from a small block of vines around row 100. He takes us into the middle of the vineyard where it’s serenely quiet, a slight breeze cooling us where we stand. I notice that the grape bunches look a little odd. There’s barely any fruit and they’re quite loose. I pop one in my mouth and the intensity and ripeness blows me away. While the rest of Napa seems to be a few weeks behind in development, the fruit here is sweet and plump.

I’d love to stay longer amongst the sun-dappled vines, but it’s time to head back to San Francisco to catch a flight home. It’s nice to know, however, that a slower pace is just a short plane ride away.

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

CORKAGE: On God’s Mountain, Recovering 500 Year Old Vines And Study After Study

August 6, 2011 

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

TASTED: My first tasting back from holidays has me in good company – Peter Gago the chief winemaker from Penfolds Winery is in town for their luxury wine release, including such treats at RWT, St. Henri, Magill Estate and the famed Grange. Beginning with the whites, the Yattarna Chardonnay stood out, exhibiting delicious lemony and ginger notes. A good dose of new French oak provides sweet spice on the palate; ginger and cinnamon abound. It’s hard to pick a favourite among the reds with so many stars, but the Magill Estate Shiraz just feels right with its connection to the original Penfolds Magill winery. Sourced from a single vineyard, this little gem is still crushed, fermented and aged on-site. Just a baby, this wine provided only a peep show of what is to come.  Rich blueberry and mocha are intertwined with a lush pluminess and a touch of mint. A proper toastiness with ample oak aging, this wine has miles still to go.

OVERHEARD: I recently shared a meal with David Paterson, winemaker for the drool-worthy Tantalus wines. Topics of conversation included their upcoming dinner with Joy Road Catering on August 25th at God’s Mountain (If you’ve never experienced the transcendence that is Dana and Cam’s food, please drop everything to purchase tickets to this event), the challenge of planting varietals suited to the weather and region as opposed to what is commercially popular, and the structure of their Pinot Noir, which David described as “tighter than a nun’s…”

READ: Hope has renewed for a 500 year old vine located just outside of Vienna that was vandalized in February. Locales have said that the vine, a possible ancestor to the great Austrian grape varietal Gruner Veltiner has begun sprouting new shoots this week…Anthony Gismondi offers up some of his favourite sippers for the last days of summer…Latest reports from the British Columbia Wine Institute indicate that grape growth in various BC wine growing regions is approximately two weeks behind but are confident that a warm September would save the 2011 vintage…In a similar report, crop numbers for British Columbia in 2010 were much lower than previous years due to a late harvest and poor weather…A controversial study comparing the British Columbia wine industry to other heavy hitter regions was recently released, highlighting some of the weaknesses BC faces in becoming a world class wine growing region…Small wineries in Oregon are dismayed by new laws that restrict tasting rooms and on site events depending on the number of acres owned…Wines of Argentina has commissioned a study to find out what the UK really thinks about their signature white grape, Torrontes. Can you imagine where Merlot would be if they did the same thing after Sideways?

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

CORKAGE: High Among The Tempranillo, Away From The Gossiping Ladies Of Lociego

(ed. note: Amorita and her husband Scott are currently in France celebrating their honeymoon. Our hearty congratulations on their marriage and best hopes for outstanding times abroad)

by Amorita Bastaja | Day two in Spanish wine country has me up earlier than I’d like to be, but the roads are impossible to navigate here and I missed my appointment with Pablo, the winemaker/ partner at Telmo Rodriguez yesterday. I’ve got to make up for lost time! I’m in Rioja and keen to get into the vineyards. As I’m driving aimlessly around at 8:30am looking for the impossibly small town of Loceigo, small Senoras are out for their morning walk. As I slowly drive by they all stop to stare at me, a clearly very lost tourist.

Finally, I locate the winery and Pablo. I tell him of the very confused ladies, and he leans in to tell me and says, “they need to know all that goes on here. They all know me, but I don’t know them – there will be much gossip later in town that Pablo was speaking English to a strange girl!” Read more

CORKAGE: Out Of France On Into Spain, Loving Pinxo Bars And Drinking Tempranillo

(ed. note: Amorita and her husband Scott are currently in France celebrating their honeymoon. Our hearty congratulations on their marriage and best hopes for outstanding times abroad)

by Amorita Bastaja | After Champagne (read), Scott and I move into Spain. A long drive through the scenic Loire Valley and Bordeaux finally brings us to the border, into Basque Country (please someone open another Pinxo’s bar in Vancouver!)

After San Sebastian, we move on down into the Department of Castille y Leon to visit the tiny little town of Aranda de Duero. Surrounding us is the reddest soil I’ve ever seen, supporting gnarled little bush vines everywhere. We’ve entered the wine growing region known as Ribera del Duero, and we are off to visit the winery PradoRey (meaning King’s Meadow, the King of Spain used to summer here to hunt). Read more

CORKAGE: Sipping On The Road In France, Chowing Pink Cookies And Touring Lallier…

(ed. note: Amorita and her husband Scott are currently in France celebrating their honeymoon. Our hearty congratulations on their marriage and best hopes for outstanding times abroad)

by Amorita Bastaja | With the morning to myself in Reims, I’m on a mission to find the famous little pink cookies called “Fosser”. A few patisseries are checked and success! Little pink biscuits designed for dipping in my pink bubble. Covered in powdered sugar, they are delicious when soaked in Champagne…

In the early afternoon, we head out towards the small town of Ay, where the Champagne house Lallier is located. Along the route are hundreds upon hundreds of rows of Pinot Noir vines, and we can’t help but stop and stare. When we arrive in Ay, a charming little town where the people are very friendly, a baguette for suffices for lunch, as most of the town is closed, save for one bar where the locals are all smoking.

We walk over to Lallier where Jeanne, the export director, meets us for a tour (when she visited Vancouver last year for the Playhouse Wine Festival, she and I became fast friends). The most fascinating part of the tour was the bottling line. Really! Here, we watched the Zero Dosage Champagne go through a strict quality control process (the only one imported to BC and one of the few still done in Champagne). The first gentleman on the line, using a pair of pliers, popped off the wire holding down the cork (no crown cap here) before performing degorgement by popping off the cork. With much pomp and circumstance, the frozen cap flies out, creating a fountain of Champagne. Read more

CORKAGE: Amorita Goes Sipping On The Road In France, Starting With Champagne

(ed. note: Amorita and her husband Scott are currently in France celebrating their honeymoon. Our hearty congratulations on their marriage and best hopes for outstanding times abroad)

by Amorita Bastaja | Along the A1 from Paris to Champagne, windmills wave hello in a synchronized dance while patchwork green and yellow hills fly by. We come to Reims, located in the Marne valley and the largest of the three main towns where Champagne is created. Tomorrow, I’ll be off to the other two – Ay and Epernay.

After a quick lunch of Terrine de Campagne washed down with a glass of Bollinger, we’re off to Ruinart, the oldest Champagne house created solely to produce the special wine.

The tour begins with a statue of Dom Ruinart (who was first involved in the wool textile trade) before moving on to easily the most impressive part, the chalk cellars. Here, 20 and 30 meters below the surface, hundreds of thousands of bottles are stored.

The chalk walls retain the moisture in the air. They are wet to the touch and crumble when rubbed. In these caves, secret underground societies flourished during the war. They’ve been home to hospitals and schools and used as a place of refuge.

When we surface back to the sunshine, it’s time to taste. We’re fortunate to run through the lineup, beginning with the Brut… Read more

CORKAGE: On Tasting Treana White And Talking With Vij’s Wine Guy Mike Bernardo

by Amorita Bastaja | A bottle or two of note, something overheard and many words read…

TASTED: At Provence Marinaside on Monday I attended an amazing vertical tasting of back vintage Treana White. Focused on even numbered vintages dating back to 1996, the vertical finished with the current release of 2008. Treana White is a proprietary blend of Hope Family Vineyards, the same folks behind Liberty School. It’s a blend of Viognier and Marsanne, two under-appreciated white varietals that find their home normally in the Northern and Southern Rhone, respectively. In the case of Treana White, the fruit comes from the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey. The wine undergoes a whole cluster press and sees a touch of new French oak (approximately 20-30 %, depending on the vintage). Overall the wines were stunners, golden yellow in colour and bursting with aromas of ripe peaches and apricots. There was a distinctive floral note, possibly honeysuckle or jasmine that was common throughout each wine. The 2000 and 2006 displayed an almost dessert wine-like viscosity on the palate and the 2002 had a distinct candied ginger nose and taste. It’s so pleasurable to take part in vertical tastings – a wonderful opportunity to understand how a wine will evolve and what it will become…

OVERHEARD: I chatted with Mike Bernardo briefly last week, the sommelier at Vij’s. Mike is probably the biggest Canucks fan I know…

A: What was the last wine you poured down your sink?
M: 1996 Donnhoff Grauburgunder – it was perhaps corked, definitely faulted.
A: What keeps you motivated; what inspires you?
M: The constant change in the industry; how I’m always finding something new. You know, the “thirst for knowledge” (laughs)
A: What wine would you drink out of the Stanley Cup?
M: 1985 Krug Clos du Mesnil. In victory we deserve it. In defeat we need it.

READ: Anthony Gismondi begins to navigate his way through the charged debate about organic versus biodynamic versus sustainable wines…New Zealand isn’t the ugly stepsister anymore! Three top Australian wine competitions have banned New Zealand wines from being entered, stating that New Zealand doesn’t need the help anymore…Bordeaux prices continue to spiral out of control, as China becomes the hot new market everyone wants to court…Producers along the famous Mosel River in Germany are battling a potential new bridge and freeway running though their vineyards which could block sunlight, cause soil damage and affect water supplies…Our neighbours down south are one step closer to privatizing their wholesale liquor distribution system…California is struggling with a nasty spring. Bud break occurred much later than usual, and vineyards have been devastated by snow, frost and rain…Think you know wine?  Let the humbling experience begin with the 2011 Master of Wine Exam

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Amorita Bastaja is a manager at Legacy Liquor Store, the largest liquor store in British Columbia (located in the Athlete’s Village), and the Wine Editor of Scout. Her love of imbibing steered her through courses from the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, and has taken her to many wine regions, including Washington State, Napa and Sonoma, Piemonte, Veneto, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Provence and all over the Okanagan Valley.

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